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Up this week for our Black History Month focus on black winemakers and winery owners is Wisdom Oak Winery. Located in North Garden, VA in the Blue Ridge Mountains right outside of Charlottesville, Wisdom Oak is owned by former trader and investment banker, Jerry Bias. So perhaps this tax lawyering thing is overrated and this is my true path? Yes? No? OK, probably not. I would have to guess that tax lawyers are a lot more risk averse than traders and investment bankers.

So as I was saying, Mr. Bias established his winery in 2001 and made history in the process as the only black owned vineyard and winery on the East Coast and has been going strong ever since. Wisdom Oak wine (their Petit Manseng) has even been served at the White House for 2013 Inauguration Candlelight Celebration. The winery had a rough year in 2015 with limited production which caused it to temporarily close its tasting room. In the interim, wine was still available online and they expect the tasting room to be back open in Spring of 2016. So don’t be deterred.

For my tasting I chose two wines, both of which had some Cabernet Franc in them. Being a huge fan of Cab Franc and having previously had some Virginia Cab Francs, I knew I couldn’t go wrong.

2014 Cabernet Franc Rosé

First up was the 2014 Cabernet Franc Rosé with one hundred percent estate grown Cab Franc.

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This seems to be one of their best selling wines and it’s definitely an easy drinker and great for warm days. The wine was a beautiful brilliant pink. Vibrant strawberry and citrus on the nose was followed by lingering strawberries on the palate. The wine was quite refreshing with some good acidity as well as a subtle hint of sweetness. You could drink this with just about anything or nothing at all.

2014 North Garden Red

The second wine I tasted was the 2014 North Garden Red.

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This is Wisdom Oaks’ signature meritage wine and is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot – all estate grown. Just as an FYI, the term “meritage” as it relates to red wine means a blend of two or more of the traditional Bordeaux varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and the more rare St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenère. None of the grapes can comprise more than ninety percent of the blend. If the blend includes other grapes, then it’s not considered a meritage wine. The “NGR” as its referred, was a deep burgundy color with dark berry fruit on the nose. On the palate, was dark cherry and blackberry fruit along with bright acidity and low tannins. Given the blend, I actually expected the wine to be a bit more tannic with less acidity. And that my friends, is why you have to taste the wine. I had this with BBQ chips (Thing 1 had a field trip and we had some leftover). The acidity and strawberry of the wine complemented the chips nicely. And yes I know that I’ve had chips for two weeks in a row with my pairings. I promise I’ll be more classy for next weeks edition. But chips are just so good…

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